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Who’s Going Where In Mercer County? Tourist Commission Gets First Attendance Data Report

Robert Moore
Herald Staff
rmoore@harrodsburgherald.com

The Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission has begun sharing information on attendance at local attractions and events. Of the 10 locations selected for the first report, Anderson-Dean Community Park received the most visitors. According to the report, Anderson-Dean received more than 75,000 visitors since Jan. 1, 2023. They went to the park more than 312,000 times, for an average of four visits per person, spending an average of 135 minutes. Attendance at the park was up 8 percent for the year and up more than 17 percent over the past three years.

The report comes from Placer.ai, a location intelligence and foot traffic data software that provides location analytics, including trends, trade areas and visitor demographics, with 92–96 percent accuracy. Last month, the tourist commission voted to purchase a year’s subscription to Placer.ai, at a cost of $22,000, which will provide the tourist commission with up to seven years’ worth of information, not just on Mercer County but on other counties. The subscription began the first of the month, and Executive-director Daarik Gray shared a report with the directors at their regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

“It’s very fascinating,” Gray told the board. He said he intends to meet with the various entities and discuss the statistics.
Attendance at events—especially free events like Oktoberfest or Pioneer Days—can be difficult to gauge. The tourist commission has searched for a more exact way to determine the sponsorships and grants—the current budget includes nearly $600,000 in sponsorships and grants to Anderson-Dean Community, the 250th Celebration and the Harrodsburg First Main Street Program, which hosts Oktoberfest. Keeping in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic began three years ago, here are the results for the first use of Placer.ai:

Local Attractions 
• Anderson-Dean Community Park (1501 Louisville Road). Visitors:  75,600. Visits: 312,000. Visit frequency: 4.13. Average dwelling time: 135 minutes. Visits year over year: 8 percent. Visits year over three years: 17.5 percent.

• Bright Leaf Golf Resort (1742 Danville Road). Visitors: 31,100. Visits: 100,800. Visit frequency: 3.25. Average dwelling time: 273 minutes. Visits year over year: 7 percent. Visits year over three years: 43.7 percent.

• Daynabrook Farms (2565 Louisville Road). Visitors: 11,300. Visits: 13,500. Visit frequency: 1.19. Average dwelling time: 114 minutes. Visits year over year: 61.5 percent. Visits year over three years: 51.2 percent.

• Devine’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch (623 Talmage Mayo Road). Visitors: 38,600. Visits: 46,800. Visit frequency: 1.21. Average dwelling time: 111 minutes. Visits year over year: -23.2 percent. Visits year over three years: -14.4 percent.

File image: Lights Over Herrington 2017.

• Herrington Lake (the part of the lake within Mercer County). Visitors: 49,200. Visits: 180,700 . Visit frequency: 3.67. Average dwelling time: 93 minutes. Visits year over year: -6 percent. Visits year over three years: -24.7 percent.

• Mercer County Fairgrounds (560 Linden Avenue). Visitors: 17,200.Visits: 31,400. Visit frequency: 1.83. Average dwelling time: 108 minutes. Visits year over year: 3.8 percent. Visits year over three years: 190.3 percent.

A reenactor fires a cannon during the 2016 Settlement and Raid at Old Fort Harrod State Park. File image.

• Old Fort Harrod State Park (100 South College Street). Visitors: 34,600. Visits: 57.700. Visit frequency: 1.67. Average dwelling time: 84 minutes. Visits year over year: 18.7 percent. Visits year over three years: 102.4 percent.

• Ragged Edge Community Theatre (111 South Main Street). Visitors: 19,000. Visits: 38,800. Visit frequency: 2.04. Average dwelling time: 75 minutes. Visits year over year: -22.3 percent. Visits year over three years: 15.6 percent.

• Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill (3501 Lexington Road). Visitors: 64,300. Visits: 104,800. Visit frequency: 1.63. Average dwelling time: 123 minutes. Visits year over year: 0.6 percent. Visits year over three years: 50.7 percent.

Local Events
• Oktoberfest (Main Street Harrodsburg). Visitors: 20,800. Visits: 23,700. Visit frequency: 1.14. Visits year over year: 33.2 percent. Visits year over three years: 676.8 percent.

Oktoberfest 2018. File image.

• Kentucky Heritage Jazz Festival (Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill). Visitors: 2,800. Visits: 2,800. Visit frequency: 1.03. Visits year over year: 4.1 percent. Visits year over three years: 394.6 percent.

The Harrodsburg Herald/Robert Moore
Drummer Jonathan Mango gave a master class in driving a groove at the Kentucky Heritage Jazz Festival at Old Fort Harrod State Park.

• Kentucky Heritage Jazz Festival (Old Fort Harrod State Park). Visitors: 1,200. Visits: 1,200. Visit frequency:1.02. Visits year over year: 73.4 percent. Visits year over three years: 163.9 percent.

• Pioneer Days (Old Fort Harrod State Park). Visitors: 10,000. Visits: 11,900. Visit frequency: 1.19. Visits year over year: 28.5 percent. Visits year over three years: 2,000 percent.

The Harrodsburg Herald/Robert Moore
A fire twirler performs Saturday night for Pioneer Days at Old Fort Harrod State Park.

At the board meeting, the commissioners were enthusiastic about the new information.

“That might be one of the best things we’ve done,” Gray said, “just because of the data we’ve got.”

Gray noted that most places are up year over year. For instance, the Vault—Ciders, Suds and Spirits has grown 934 percent since three years ago.

“It doesn’t show up in my bank account, but I appreciate the numbers,” joked board member Tim Kaziner, who, along with his wife, Jennifer, owns the Vault.

While Placer.ai claims a 92 to 96 percent accuracy rate, Gray said the attendance figures matched the estimates Harrodsburg First made from the number of cups sold.

“I think this will help us when we make next year’s budget,” Gray said.

As the tourist commission staff become more proficient with the software, they hope to be able to obtain information showing how much visitors spend and other information.

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s edition of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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